Orioles at Blue Jays Series Preview

Sports and Bets — September 4, 2015 at 6:36 pm by

The O’s will kick off a big six-game road trip with a three-game series against the Blue Jays. On paper, this is a matchup of two teams that have been moving in completely opposite directions. Toronto’s won 23 out of their last 29 contests, and they’ve catapulted into 1st place in the AL East. The O’s have lost 12 of their last 14 games, and they’ve dropped to 4th place in the division. The Birds are now 12 games behind the Jays, and they’re 6.5 games behind Texas for the 2nd Wild Card spot with four teams currently ahead of them in the standings. The odds are certainly stacked against the O’s this weekend, but like Chris Berman would say, “That’s why they play the games.”

The Breakdown
Baltimore Orioles (64-69) at Toronto Blue Jays (76-57)
Season Series: Toronto leads 7-5
Last 10 Games: Baltimore’s 2-8, Toronto’s 8-2
Runs: Baltimore’s 12th, Toronto’s 1st
Home Runs: Baltimore’s 4th, Toronto’s 1st
Batting Average: Baltimore’s 18th, Toronto’s 5th
On-Base Percentage: Baltimore’s 27th, Toronto’s 1st
Team ERA: Baltimore’s 15th, Toronto’s 10th
Starter ERA: Baltimore’s 25th, Toronto’s 11th
Bullpen ERA: Baltimore’s 5th, Toronto’s 6th
Fewest Errors Made: Baltimore’s 1st, Toronto’s tied for 12th

Baltimore’s Injury Report
P Miguel Gonzalez: 15-day DL (right shoulder, elbow)
INF J.J. Hardy: 15-day DL (groin)

Toronto’s Injury Report
P Marcus Stroman: 60-day DL (left ACL; currently on rehab assignment)
INF Maicer Izturis: 60-day DL (right shoulder surgery; out for season)
INF Devon Travis: 15-day DL (left shoulder)
OF Michael Saunders: 60-day DL (left knee; out for season)

Friday, September 4 at 7:07 p.m. on MASN 2
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (9-9) vs. RHP Drew Hutchison (13-2)
Jimenez’s 2015: 26 GS, 147.1 IP, 134 Ks, 4.34 ERA, 1.38 WHIP
Jimenez’s Last Three Starts: 0-2, 16.1 IP, 12 Ks, 7.71 ERA, 1.90 WHIP
Hutchison’s 2015: 25 GS, 138.2 IP, 122 Ks, 4.87 ERA, 1.41 WHIP
Hutchison’s Last Three Starts: 3-0, 20.2 IP, 18 Ks, 1.74 ERA, 0.77 WHIP

Jimenez has been in an awful funk lately, failing to allow less than three runs or pitch more than 5.2 innings in all of his last four starts. He’ll look to break that streak with Matt Wieters behind the plate, which has historically meant bad news for Jimenez. Over his career, Jimenez has a 7.49 ERA in 63.2 innings with Wieters catching and a 3.02 ERA in 161 innings with Caleb Joseph catching (Kubatko). Jimenez has a track record of modest success against Toronto, going 5-4 in 12 career appearances (11 starts) with a 4.10 ERA and 1.29 WHIP while striking out 58 batters over 63.2 innings. This season, Jimenez has been surprisingly dominant against the high-powered Blue Jays’ offense. In three starts, Jimenez is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, and he’s struck out 23 batters over 19 innings. His last start against Toronto came on May 11, and he picked up the win after holding them to two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out nine over seven innings.

Despite Hutchison’s ugly 4.87 ERA, he’s 2nd in all of baseball with a .867 winning percentage. I hope he’s been taking the entire team out for poutine and Molsons after each of his starts to thank them for carrying his sorry ass. In fairness to Hutchison, he has turned it up a notch in the 2nd half, posting a 3.76 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in his seven starts since the break. Hutchison has also been a major thorn in the Orioles’ side over the years. In 10 career starts against the Birds, Hutchison is 5-1 with a 3.13 ERA and 0.93 WHIP, and he’s struck out 67 batters over 63.1 innings. Thankfully, the O’s have showed signs of figuring out the 25-year-old righty. This season, Hutchison has gone 1-0 in two starts against the Birds with a 6.57 ERA and 0.97 WHIP while striking out 12 batters over 12.1 innings.

Good News: Manny Machado is 4-for-11 with a HR, Jonathan Schoop is 2-for-9 with a HR, Steve Pearce is 3-for-8 with a HR, and Jimmy Paredes is 2-for-7 with a HR off Hutchison. Russell Martin is 9-for-37, Edwin Encarnacion is 6-for-30 with a HR, Jose Bautista is 2-for-29, Justin Smoak is 2-for-20 with a HR, Josh Donaldson is 2-for-15, Dioner Navarro is 1-for-8, Kevin Pillar is 2-for-8, Cliff Pennington is 1-for-6, Chris Colabello is 1-for-5, Dalton Pompey is 0-for-5, and Josh Thole is 1-for-4 off Jimenez.

Bad News: Adam Jones is 6-for-26 with a HR, Chris Davis is 4-for-20 with a HR, Ryan Flaherty is 2-for-13, Matt Wieters is 1-for-8, Steve Clevenger is 0-for-4, and Caleb Joseph is 0-for-2 off Hutchison. Ben Revere is 4-for-9, Ryan Goins is 2-for-7, and Ezequiel Carrera is 2-for-3 off Jimenez. The Jays are 45-24 at home, while the O’s are 26-42 on the road.

Saturday, September 5 at 1:07 p.m. on MASN
RHP Mike Wright (2-3) vs. LHP David Price (13-5)
Wright’s 2015: 7 G, 6 GS, 30.2 IP, 19 Ks, 4.99 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
Wright’s Last Three Starts: 0-3, 10.1 IP, 7 Ks, 12.19 ERA, 2.42 WHIP
Price’s 2015: 27 GS, 189.1 IP, 188 Ks, 2.47 ERA, 1.08 WHIP
Price’s Last Three Starts: 2-1, 21 IP, 26 Ks, 3.00 ERA, 0.95 WHIP

After starting his pro career with 14.1 scoreless innings, Wright came crashing back down to earth, giving up 17 runs in his next 16.1 innings. Wright hasn’t pitched for the O’s since throwing a scoreless inning of relief against the Tigers on July 31 due to a right calf injury. This will be the 25-year-old rookie’s first start with the Birds since he was pummeled by the Blue Jays on June 19. Wright took the loss after getting knocked around for four runs on three hits and four walks while striking out one over 1.1 innings.

Price has been exactly what the Jays were hoping for when they acquired him at the trade deadline. In six starts with Toronto, Price has gone 4-1 with a 2.28 ERA and 0.97 WHIP while striking out 50 batters over 43.1 innings. While all pitchers obviously love getting run support, Price reallllyy loves it when his offense lights up the scoreboard. In 66 career starts when his offense scores six or more runs, Price is 48-0 with a 2.83 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, and he’s struck out 430 batters over 435.2 innings. The 2012 Cy Young winner boasts impressive career numbers against the O’s, going 7-4 in 18 starts with a 2.73 ERA and 1.22 WHIP while striking out 112 batters over 115.1 innings. This season, the 30-year-old southpaw was a hard-luck loser in his first outing against the Birds. On July 18 as a member of the Tigers, Price gave up one run on six hits and a walk while striking out 12 over seven innings.

Good News: Adam Jones is 14-for-50, Wieters is 15-for-44 with a HR, Davis is 5-for-18, Machado is 5-for-18 with a HR, Pearce is 5-for-17 with a HR, Flaherty is 1-for-3, and Paredes is 1-for-2 off Price. In 84 career games against Toronto, Davis is batting .300/.383/.652 with 27 HRs, 65 RBIs, and 53 runs scored.

Bad News: Schoop is 2-for-8, and Joseph is 0-for-5 off Price. Current Blue Jays are slashing .400/.700/.800 in 10 plate appearances against Wright. As much as Donaldson grinds my gears, he’s got my vote for AL MVP. He’s batting .304, and he’s 3rd in baseball in HRs (36), 1st in RBIs (111), 1st in runs (104), 2nd in slugging (.589), 6th in OPS (.961), and 2nd in WAR (7.6).

Sunday, September 6 at 1:07 p.m. on MASN 2
RHP Chris Tillman (9-10) vs. LHP Mark Buehrle (14-6)
Tillman’s 2015: 25 GS, 140.1 IP, 97 Ks, 4.87 ERA, 1.36 WHIP
Tillman’s Last Three Starts: 0-3, 17.1 IP, 12 Ks, 7.27 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
Buehrle’s 2015: 26 GS, 171 IP, 80 Ks, 3.53 ERA, 1.18 WHIP
Buehrle’s Last Three Starts: 1-1, 16 IP, 7 Ks, 5.63 ERA, 1.38 WHIP

Tillman has really struggled to give the O’s quality innings since he injured his left ankle. In his five starts since the injury, Tillman is 1-3 with a 7.09 ERA. It won’t be easy for Tilly to turn things around, as the Blue Jays have hammered him over his career. In 18 starts against Toronto, Tillman is 4-9 with a 5.68 ERA and 1.38 WHIP, and he’s struck out 75 batters over 104.2 innings. This season, facing the Jays has been a total nightmare for the 27-year-old righty. In four starts against Toronto, Tillman has gone 0-3 with a 15.00 ERA and 2.40 WHIP while striking out nine batters over 15 innings.

Buehrle continues to chug along in his age-36 season, as he’s on pace on deliver his 16th straight season of pitching at least 200 innings. He’s also tied with Corey Kluber for the most complete games in baseball with four. Buehrle now has 213 career wins, and in my opinion, he has the best shot of any active pitcher to reach 300 wins. He’s never been on the disabled list, and he could probably still get hitters out when he’s 50 years old while throwing absolute puss. Buehrle has solid career numbers against the Birds, going 11-10 in 28 career appearances (26 starts) with a 3.52 ERA and 1.28 WHIP while striking out 93 batters over 171.1 innings. It’s been more of the same for Buehrle when facing the O’s this season, as he’s gone 3-0 in four starts with a 3.24 ERA and 1.24 WHIP while striking out 12 batters over 25 innings.

Good News: Jones is 16-for-41 with 2 HRs, Davis is 8-for-30 with 2 HRs, Machado is 8-for-22, Wieters is 6-for-22 with a HR, Joseph is 4-for-13 with a HR, Schoop is 4-for-11 with a HR, Gerardo Parra is 2-for-6, Flaherty is 2-for-5, Paul Janish is 2-for-3, and Paredes is 1-for-3 off Buehrle. Munenori Kawasaki is 4-for-17, and Smoak is 2-for-12 off Tillman.

Bad News: Pearce is 2-for-13 off Buehrle. Encarnacion is 14-for-44 with 2 HRs, Bautista is 9-for-35 with 2 HRs, Donaldson is 6-for-18 with a HR, Goins is 7-for-18 with a HR, Navarro is 5-for-16, Pillar is 4-for-11 with 2 HRs, Martin is 4-for-8, Pompey is 4-for-7 with a HR, Carrera is 1-for-4 with a HR, and Colabello is 2-for-3 off Tillman. Since the All-Star break, Encarnacion is hitting .359/.439/.748 with 12 HRs, 38 RBIs, and 28 runs scored in 36 games.

Enjoy the games, and let’s go O’s!

stats: Baseball-Reference
cover pic: Washington Post/Getty Images

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